Friday 11 – Sunday 13 February 2022

To celebrate the centenary of the BBC, the BBC Orchestras and Choirs and the Ulster Orchestra, come together for a weekend of live performances on BBC Radio 3 showcasing the rich and diverse talent across the UK (11-13 February).  The majority of the BBC Orchestras and Choirs have their origins in the first pioneering decade of the BBC.  Their founding mission was to bring classical music to the widest possible audience on the radio, and today their mission has expanded to encompass radio, TV, digital, live concerts and learning work.

Across the weekend, each ensemble gives a live broadcast concert including music from the 1920s and the 2020s. Composers include Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Errollyn Wallen, Judith Weir, Bryce Dessner, Hindemith and Howard Goodall.

The output of the six groups covers a wealth of musical styles, reaching audiences right across the UK and beyond with live concerts, extensive learning work and broadcasts across many BBC platforms. Each year the Orchestras and Choirs can be heard for hundreds of hours on BBC Radio 3 with regular outings across Radio 2, 6 Music, BBC Two and BBC Four, as well as providing more than a third of the annual BBC Proms concerts, the world’s largest music festival.

Whether it’s been the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on the soundtrack to Doctor Who or the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers performing at the Last Night of the Proms on BBC One; the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra pioneering contemporary electronic music in their Tectonics festival on Radio 3; the BBC Concert Orchestra live on the Ken Bruce show on Radio 2; or the BBC Philharmonic on ten local BBC radio stations across the North West with The Great Northern Playlist – the local, national and international reach of the BBC orchestras and choirs has placed them at the heart of music making at the BBC.

The origins of the BBC Orchestras and Choirs can be traced back to the very year the BBC came into existence with the 2ZY Orchestra, the precursor to the BBC Philharmonic, giving its first performance on the 2ZY radio signal in Manchester, one of two frequencies used to launch the BBC. The BBC Wireless Singers, who later became the BBC Singers, were formed in 1924 and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales gave its first performance in 1928. The BBC Symphony Orchestra came into being under the direction of Adrian Boult in 1930, whilst the BBC Concert Orchestra traces its roots back to the BBC Theatre Orchestra formed in 1931 and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra was established in 1935.

The roster of Chief Conductors and Composers in Association from Malcolm Sargent to Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez to Colin Davis, Peter Maxwell Davies to Judith Weir have kept the artistic ambitions of the BBC Orchestras and Choirs at the forefront of music making worldwide throughout the past ten decades. With the arrival of The Third Programme, the precursor to Radio 3, in 1946 the orchestras and choirs found a home for their distinctive music programming, reaching millions of listeners which continues to this day.

The weekend of concerts will be available on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds.

Full programme details

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Friday 11 February, 7.30pm

Barbican, London

Bryce Dessner: Mari UK Premiere                                                                     

Strauss: Burleske in D minor                                                                               

Mussorgsky orch. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

Kirill Gerstein piano

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Semyon Bychkov conductor

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Saturday 12 February 1.00pm

Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff

Sebastian Hilli: Miracle    

Copland: Appalachian Spring Suite 

Grace Williams: Elegy for string orchestra     

Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite  

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Ryan Bancroft conductor

BBC Concert Orchestra

Saturday 12 February, 4.00pm

Watford Colosseum, Watford

Coates: The Merry Makers overture

Anne Dudley: Musique d’Elle (suite)

Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

Arnold: Beckus the Dandipratt

Xia Sloane: brink

Artie Butler arr. Johnny Mandel: Here’s To Life                                                    

Rogers/Hammerstein arr Guy Barker: It Might As Well Be Spring

Wayne Shorter arr Guy Barker: Nefertiti

Coates: London Suite (London Every Day)

Clare Teal vocals

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank violin

BBC Concert Orchestra

Anna-Maria Helsing conductor

BBC Philharmonic

Saturday 12 February, 7.30pm

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Hindemith: Kammermusik no.1

Aziza Sadikova: Marionettes UK Premiere, BBC Commission

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor

Tippett : Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage

Eliso Virsaladze piano

BBC Philharmonic

Omer Meier Wellber conductor

Ulster Orchestra

Sunday 13 February, 11.00am

Waterfront Hall, Belfast

Hamilton Harty: Piano concerto

Conor Mitchell:  Democracy Dances

Michael McHale piano

Ulster Orchestra

Andrew Gourlay conductor

BBC Singers

Sunday 13 February, 4.00pm

Milton Court, London

Vaughan Williams: Mass in G minor, interspersed with:  

Judith Weir: Love bade me welcome

Melissa Dunphy: Mourning to dancing

Roxanna Panufnik: Child of Heaven

Philip Cooke: Agnus Dei

Errollyn Wallen: Pace

Howard Goodall: Unconditional Love European premiere

Walford Davies: God be in my head 

BBC Singers

Howard Goodall conductor

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Sunday 13 February 2022, 7.30pm 

City Halls, Glasgow

Weill: Quodlibet

R. Strauss: Hymne an die Liebe (Hymn To Love) Op. 71, No.1

Ryan Wigglesworth: Five Waltzes for viola and orchestra        

Berg: Three Fragments from Wozzeck

Katherine Broderick soprano

Scott Dickinson viola

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Ryan Wigglesworth conductor